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I probably will try that hack at some point. It seems easier than trying to fool the altimeter. Anyways, just wanted to comment on that since the question was asked about using a drone in the mountains in AZ and the Rockies, that's the main issue I had. 

In AZ I've been able to find high enough launch points, but a few times I've had to use the optical zoom after hitting the restriction. In the Rockies it turns into a real limitation though where mountains with prospects can be 4000ft+ prominence above the highest launch point you can drive to without climbing the mountain.

When I bought a DJI Phantom like 9 years ago there wasn't really any mapping programs available, and I bought it to do my own high res aerial mapping for a Geocommunicator replacement website I made at the time (now defunct) called Virtual Prospector, with the idea of providing up to date high res aerials of the popular goldfield areas, for free. But I gave up on it because hand stitching the maps together and then georeferencing them manually was beyond time consuming, plus the distance limitations made it incredibly limiting (even with tons of aftermarket mods I barely got 1 mile in wide open Rye Patch), and at the time I had to hand attach a GoPro to the drone and couldn't get rid of the fisheye'ing entirely which made accurate georeferencing impossible even with days worth of hand correcting in photoshop. But I see a post that there are mapping software available now, and with the longer flight distances of these recent drones and awesomely high res cameras built in today, someone may try to do that again. Like Mylandmatters. Hint hint. :wink:

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15 minutes ago, jasong said:

I probably will try that hack at some point. It seems easier than trying to fool the altimeter. Anyways, just wanted to comment on that since the question was asked about using a drone in the mountains in AZ and the Rockies, that's the main issue I had. 

In AZ I've been able to find high enough launch points, but a few times I've had to use the optical zoom after hitting the restriction. In the Rockies it turns into a real limitation though where mountains with prospects can be 4000ft+ prominence above the highest launch point you can drive to without climbing the mountain.

When I bought a DJI Phantom like 9 years ago there wasn't really any mapping programs available, and I bought it to do my own high res aerial mapping for a Geocommunicator replacement website I made at the time called Virtual Prospector, with the idea of providing up to date high res aerials of the popular goldfield areas, for free. But I gave up on it because hand stitching the maps together and then georeferencing them manually was beyond time consuming, plus the distance limitations made it incredibly limiting (even with tons of aftermarket mods I barely got 1 mile in wide open Rye Patch), and at the time I had to hand attach a GoPro to the drone and couldn't get rid of the fisheye'ing entirely which made accurate georeferencing impossible even with days worth of hand correcting in photoshop. But I see a post that there are mapping software available now, and with the longer flight distances of these recent drones and awesomely high res cameras built in today, someone may try to do that again. Like Mylandmatters. Hint hint. :wink:

Taking the pictures with the drones is not the problem, there are many apps out there than can lawnmower an area automatically.  Some even allow you to use shapefiles from your GIS projects and kmz files if you want to draw your areas of interest in Google Earth and set up all the paths and overlap necessary.  I personally stick with DJI's apps because they allow you to set the zoom angle if using the Mavic 2 Zoom (my work drone).  The real problem is stitching it all together and it takes cloud based processing to really get anywhere, if you try to do it on your own PC it might take days even to process it all.  With cloud based processing it might only take about 4-6 hours to stich together a 1/4 section's worth.  Big name companies are DroneDeploy or Pix4D, but my employer won't pay for the subscription so I use OpenDroneMap Lightning.  You can pay per map or monthly and it is way cheaper, not very user friendly, but Jason I am sure you could figure it out.

For hacking your drone I used drone-hacks.com

Again at your own risk of course.

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36 minutes ago, jasong said:

I probably will try that hack at some point. It seems easier than trying to fool the altimeter. Anyways, just wanted to comment on that since the question was asked about using a drone in the mountains in AZ and the Rockies, that's the main issue I had. 

In AZ I've been able to find high enough launch points, but a few times I've had to use the optical zoom after hitting the restriction. In the Rockies it turns into a real limitation though where mountains with prospects can be 4000ft+ prominence above the highest launch point you can drive to without climbing the mountain.

When I bought a DJI Phantom like 9 years ago there wasn't really any mapping programs available, and I bought it to do my own high res aerial mapping for a Geocommunicator replacement website I made at the time (now defunct) called Virtual Prospector, with the idea of providing up to date high res aerials of the popular goldfield areas, for free. But I gave up on it because hand stitching the maps together and then georeferencing them manually was beyond time consuming, plus the distance limitations made it incredibly limiting (even with tons of aftermarket mods I barely got 1 mile in wide open Rye Patch), and at the time I had to hand attach a GoPro to the drone and couldn't get rid of the fisheye'ing entirely which made accurate georeferencing impossible even with days worth of hand correcting in photoshop. But I see a post that there are mapping software available now, and with the longer flight distances of these recent drones and awesomely high res cameras built in today, someone may try to do that again. Like Mylandmatters. Hint hint. :wink:

That’s pretty interesting you started hand stitching it so early, so many other people followed you afterwards. There’s a couple really good free online stitching and 3D point cloud building programs that are pretty good and on par with some of the professional level ones like https://www.opendronemap.org/ and https://hivemapper.com

hivemapper has a online community map database where they accept imagery from the public and are building a larger map from it, if people are flying over Rye Patch or some of the other wide open areas contributed to it, eventually there could be a complete 3-D map made of those locations.

As for putting together point clouds and 3-D Maps, I use Agisoft, but it’s rather expensive and really needs a system with a GPU to run well.  Most of the programs have pretty good trial offers to run if you want to make a few maps.

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